Original Research - Special Collection: Ignatius van Wyk Dedication

The experiences of female ministers in counselling female rape survivors: A phenomenological study

Neltjie C. van Wyk
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 4 | a5052 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i4.5052 | © 2018 Neltjie C. van Wyk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 April 2018 | Published: 24 September 2018

About the author(s)

Neltjie C. van Wyk, Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Rape is an act of humiliation that leaves the survivors ashamed. They therefore often try and hide from others and rarely seek help. Informal discussions with female ministers revealed that some of them had counselled female rape survivors. A descriptive phenomenological study, aimed at exploring and describing the experiences of female ministers in counselling female rape survivors through individual interviews, was conducted. Six ministers were interviewed. They experienced the dichotomy of being a woman and being a minister during their encounter with rape survivors. As women, they became emotionally involved in the suffering of the rape survivors, and as ministers they experienced that prayer and scripture reading in collaboration with counselling promote healing. They also experienced that rape survivors perceived them as approachable because of their gender, but less approachable because of their status as ministers.


Rape survivors; female ministers; church; counselling


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Crossref Citations

1. “I felt like I was going to cause conflict. So, I kept quiet …” (Female child rape victim, 15 years)
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Child Abuse & Neglect  vol: 144  first page: 106355  year: 2023  
doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2023.106355